The Ethnologue: Languages of the World
is a web and print publication of SIL International
(formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics), a Christian linguistic
service organization which studies lesser-known languages to provide missionaries
for their speakers. It contains statistics for 6,809 languages
(2000 edition) and gives the number of speakers, location, dialects, linguistic affiliations, availability of the Bible
, etc. It is currently the only comprehensive language inventory.
What counts as a language depends on socio-linguistic evaluation: see Dialect.
The Ethnologue provides a three-letter code, called SIL code, for each language it describes, the number of which significantly exceeds those of ISO 639 and RFC 3066.